US has ‘evidence’ of Iran link to political unrest, says Gates

US Defense Secretary says Iran has meddled in Middle East states hit by uprisings
US has ‘evidence’ of Iran link to political unrest, says Gates
Defense secretary Robert Gates said the US has “evidence” of Iranian interference in Bahrain and other Middle East countries
By Joanne Bladd
Thu 07 Apr 2011 06:33 PM

Defense
secretary Robert Gates said the US has “evidence” of Iranian interference in
Bahrain and other Middle East countries hit by political unrest.

"We
already have evidence that the Iranians are trying to exploit the situation in
Bahrain, and we also have evidence that they are talking about what they can do
to try and create problems elsewhere as well," Gates was quoted as saying
by AFP during a meeting in Riyadh.

Discussions
between Gates and Saudi King Abdullah had focused in part on Iranian efforts to
leverage the political turbulence in the region, he said.

Gulf
Arab countries are concerned over what they see as the ambition of Iran, a
non-Arab Shi'ite Muslim power, to extend its influence in Arab countries mostly
under Sunni rule.

Foreign
ministers in the Gulf last week condemned what they called Iran’s ongoing
meddling in their affairs after the Persian country condemned the dispatch
of Saudi and UAE troops to Bahrain.

The
GCC Ministerial Council also accused Iran of “flagrant interference” in the
domestic affairs of Kuwait, where three men were last week sentenced to death
for operating an Iranian spy ring.

The
statement referred to Iran’s “flagrant interference… by planting espionage
networks in [Kuwait’s] territories and attempting to undermine its security,
stability and interests.”

Kuwait
has said it may expel three Iranian diplomats over the spying row and recalled
its ambassador from Tehran. Iran has denied the allegations.

Iran
has been vocal in its condemnation of the use of Gulf troops to quell protests
in Bahrain. In a statement last week, the country’s Shura Council said Saudi
Arabia was “playing with fire” by sending troops to the neighbouring country, a
statement dismissed as “irresponsible” by the kingdom.

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